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Claim Filed Against City Over LAPD Bicycle Incident Seen on YouTube

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Manual Gallegos shows his now-damaged iPhone he used to film the incident | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist

Manual Gallegos shows his now-damaged iPhone he used to film the incident | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
The videographer apparently tackled by police during a large bicycle ride last Friday today filed a claim against the city of Los Angeles, he and lawyers announced today. The claim is based on assault, battery, false arrest, false imprisonment and First, Fourth and 14th amendment civil rights violations, among other legal theories, his lawyer Hermez Moreno said.

On Friday, a large group of cyclists participating in a Critical Mass ride protesting the BP oil spill, were riding down Hollywood Boulevard. Among the various stories told by cyclists of police abuse, 31-year-old Manuel Gallegos, who works in the aerospace industry, began documenting the action. After an officer kicked his foot out, allegedly in an attempt to hit a passing bike, Gallegos screamed before police used force on him. Here's what claim says about the incident:

Mr. Gallegos was traveling eastbound on Hollywood Boulevard when shortly after crossing the intersection with Highland Avenue he witnessed LAPD officers threatening to hit cyclists with their batons and attempting to stick their batons in the wheel spokes in an apparent attempt to make the cyclists topple and fall. Upon seeing a young boy pulled off his bicycle and mishandled by an LAPD officer Mr. Gallegos began filming the conduct of the officers. Shortly after capturing an image of an LAPD officer kicking at the tire of a cyclist, Mr. Gallegos was chased down by LAPD officers, who tackled him, dragged him off his bicycle and proceeded to beat and kick him. During the course of the beating, one as of yet unknown LAPD officer stomped and kicked Mr. Gallegos' phone in what is believed to be an attempt to destroy evidence of the unlawful conduct of the LAPD officers. After being beaten, Mr. Gallegos was then handcuffed and detained by the LAPD officers for approximately 45 minutes. In what is believed to be a further effort to conceal their unlawful conduct, the LAPD officers then issued Mr. Gallegos a traffic citation containing false and fabricated violations of the California Vehicle Code

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Gallegos' iPhone | Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist
In response to the incident, Internal Affairs immediately began an investigation and by Tuesday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was appearing a bicycle committee meeting to mend relations. "I think that the true measure of [the relationship between the LAPD and cyclists is] how we work together on this incident or any other," Beck said. "What I tell people all the time is that, police work by nature will have conflict, and it's not whether they occur or not, it's how you resolve them -- that is the test: how a police department works with its community."

If the city rejects the claim, a lawsuit could be filed in court, possibly federal.